The recent statement IU Provost, Lauren Robel released and essentially parroted by the IU and Kelley Student Governments’ joint statement concerning a bigoted, yet still gainfully employed faculty member are disappointing and harmful. All ideas aren’t equal and meriting a platform. Someone advocating for a flat Earth shouldn’t occupy a space in respectable society, and certainly not academia. The bigotry espoused by a Kelley faculty member is no less absurd and shouldn’t be provided a platform. Tolerating intolerance is not allowing a, “diverse environment”, but a haven for the privileged to espouse their bigotry immune from substantial reproach. Allowing this conduct to proceed is detrimental to the school and our community. Empty platitudes won't repair such harm.
The issue isn’t the decades-long behaviors of a singular bigot, but the moderatism of the liberal masses. Employing legality as a defensive of the indefensible has long been the risk-averse modus operandi of whiteness. Slavery was legal until we rose to war against it. Jim Crow laws were legal until we boycotted and protested in mass. No great advancement has occurred without struggle and a demand. It’s beyond time we collectively demand that white supremacy and similar ideologies are treated as terrorism, and those that espouse such rhetoric afforded no safe haven.
The United States Constitution is a document created by men who believed they could force other people into a brutal system of slavery. It’s allowed for untold atrocities to be committed under the rule of law. The Constitution is the starting point of our government, not an immutable divine decree. It’s referred to as, “a living document” because it’s imperfect and must be challenged by every contemporary generation to ensure our nation continues to evolve into, “a more perfect union”.
If an institution as storied and privileged as Indiana University isn’t willing to not merely voice but stand upon its principles and code of academic ethics, what does that speak of us as a community? The time is now to push our society forward towards justice for the benefit of existing generations, and as an example for generations yet to come.